Organic beauty products are the fastest growing section of the beauty industry right now. This is absolutely not surprising, considering the organic food market has been massively popular for more than a decade. People are increasingly becoming conscious of what they put into their bodies, so it only follows that they should also be careful with what they put on their skin.
What Is Organic Cosmetics Exactly?
Natural, non-toxic or organic cosmetics are makeup, skincare and beauty products made of ingredients that have been certified as organic and that are devoid of any synthetic chemical compounds. Organic cosmetics are created from flower and plant components that never should irritate the skin, but on the contrary, that moisturize and soothe your skin.
It is much more difficult to formulate elegant and effective organic beauty products, because they must be free of many synthetically derived chemicals that have the potential to harm one’s skin and health. For example, the most common preservatives in the beauty industry, parabens, formaldehyde donors, and phenoxyethanol, all come with a list of potential environmental and health risks attached to them.
These preservatives are extremely effective, and give products a very long shelf. Organic beauty brands have to give up their products having a long shelf life, in favor of using natural and safe preservatives.
Another ingredient that doesn’t show up organic beauty products is silicone, which gives foundations and makeup primers that beautiful velvety finish; that is why there are so few incredible natural primers and foundations – they are extremely challenging to formulate.
As always, I’m happy to take the guesswork out of your purchasing decision. We have collected the best organic beauty products, in both skin care and makeup categories. These are products that are all natural, safe, and yet totally effective and cosmetically elegant.
Before we get into that, I’ll explain a bit more about what the standards for organic beauty products are, and how you can choose the best organic beauty products for you.
How To Identify Organic Cosmetics
It’s important for consumers to know that there is no single body that regulates organic cosmetics, and that the use of the word “organic” is a little complicated. For example, a brand can have the word “organic” or “organics” as part of its name, without actually having any organic ingredients in its formula. Similarly, the words natural and botanical are also unregulated.
This means that it is up to you to look past all this “green washing” to figure out exactly which brands truly are completely natural or organic. There are some standards that exist, that companies can apply for. If they are accepted they can put a seal of the certifying body. This allows you to know exactly what kind of standards that brand adheres to.
In the US, you might see a USDA seal that announces the product as either completely organic, or mostly organic. Another popular organic certification body is called COSMOS – it has two standards, one for organic products, which must contain a majority of organic ingredients, and another for natural products, which must contain a majority of natural ingredients.
One thing I like about the COSMOS standard is that in addition to judging a product for how natural it is, it also has standards for the types of ingredients that can and cannot go into the cosmetics. Some ingredients, like parabens, formaldehyde donors, and artificial fragrances, are banned because there are concerns that they might be able to cause cancer.
Others, like mineral oil, some chemical sunscreen ingredients, and triclosan, can cause harm to the environment either during their production process, or after they are flushed down the drain. I think the ingredients that are not present in the formula are just as important as the ones that are.
Should You Make the Switch to Organic Cosmetics?
Now that you know a little bit about what organic cosmetics are, and how to identify organic beauty products, I want to make it clear: I don’t think using strictly organic beauty products is necessary.
What is necessary is to be well informed, and know what it is that you are putting on your skin. I don’t think it makes sense, for example, for a smoker to totally avoid parabens. After all, you are regularly taking in a proven carcinogen, so why worry about something that hasn’t been proven to cause cancer?
To me, personally, the most important thing is to avoid products that might harm the environment or that have been tested on animals. That is why I don’t use scrubs made with plastic microbeads, or sunscreens that have been shown to harm aquatic ecosystems.
If you are overall trying to avoid all potential carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and are cleaning up your diet and lifestyle on all fronts, then it definitely makes sense to make the switch to all natural beauty products. Just keep in mind that these kinds of products have shorter shelf lives, are more expensive, and they sometimes don’t work quite as well as mainstream cosmetics.
How Do You Start Making the Switch to Organic Beauty Products?
This question is a little tough to answer. Some people choose to quit all of their synthetic products cold turkey – in one day they throw out all of their old products, and purchase all new natural products. To me that seems a little bit intense.
I think it is much better to read through the ingredients list of all of the products you have, and see which ingredients it is especially important for you to avoid. Toss all of the products with ingredients you are seriously trying to avoid, or products that come into close contact with your skin.
With endocrine disruptors (phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde donors, for example), the real concern is that they will become accumulated in your body. This means that using just a little bit, and not regularly, does not pose a serious risk.
Where the risk might show (keep in mind, this has not been concretely proven) is when using many different products containing these ingredients, day in and day out. This means that making the switch slow is perfectly fine.
10 Best Organic Beauty Products
So if you’re ready to make the switch to all natural and organic cosmetics, I’ll make it a little easier for you. These are the top 10 best organic beauty products you can buy!
1. Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser
I truly believe that nothing can surpass a great oil cleanser. That luxurious feeling of rubbing an oil cleanser into the skin feels truly pampering, and there is immense satisfaction in seeing my layers upon layers of makeup melt away.
Even better, there are absolutely no icky sulfates in the formula that can leave the skin feeling parched and dry. Instead, it is loaded with vitamin E rich sunflower oil, a light oil that is great for oily skin, as well as shea butter, apricot oil, and a collection of skin soothing extracts.
This cleanser, as well as other oil cleansers, is best applied to dry skin, and then removed with a damp washcloth or cotton pads. Some people choose to follow it up with a second, foamy cleanser, but I don’t think that’s necessary. You can purchase this gorgeous oil cleanser at Sephora.
2. Kjaer Weis Mascara
If there is one place where you don’t want toxins getting in, it’s through your eyes. However, you still want sultry and long eyelashes that will give you that irresistible feminine look. A great organic mascara is hard to create, but I gotta say that Kjaer Weis did it.
The formula itself is opaque black, volumizing, and lengthening, which is shocking considering it is mostly made up of hydrosols, waxes, and oils. One of these oils is castor oil, which many people claim is able to lengthen and strengthen the eyelashes.
The brush is on the smaller side, with shorter spikes, giving an expertly separated look without clumps. While this mascara is not technically waterproof, it should stay put through a bit of rain or some tears. You can purchase this wonderful natural mascara from Revolve.
3. Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi Use Blush
There is definitely a serious love for cream based blushes in the organic beauty world, and this stick from Vapour is one of the best organic makeup products. It comes in stick form, for a simple application, and it can technically go anywhere on the face: cheeks, lips, and eyes.
These blush sticks go on light, but they can be built up. They blend into the skin flawlessly, for a glowing from within type of look. My personal favorite color is Courtesan – a reddish rose tone that will suit almost any skin color, but there are 10 colors to choose from, so you are sure to find something that’ll suit you well.
The ingredients are super simple: sunflower oil, wax, castor oil, and some lovely plant extracts and essential oils – practically skin care. You can pick up one of these gorgeous blush sticks at Dermstore.
4. OSEA Eyes & Lips
This dual-purpose organic cream from OSEA is quite unique. Despite containing some water, it has the texture of a balm. This means that while it feels quite thick, it actually sinks into the skin well, and is able to hydrate.
It can be used all over the face, but it was specifically made with the eye area and the lips in mind, since those are usually the first parts of our face to show signs of aging. This cream contains mineral rich and hydrating algae extract, as well as dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline, an amino acid that smoothes the skin and plumps it up.
The hardcore users of this organic beauty product rave about its ability to instantly enliven their skin, leaving it hydrated and young looking. This cream can be purchased from OSEA Malibu.
5. Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator
A great facial mist is not exactly a mandatory part of one’s skin care routine, but once you get in the habit they are really hard to quit. This versatile mist from Josh Rosebrook is meant to be sprayed on the skin after cleansing, and before applying face serums and moisturizers.
It can also be sprayed on as a makeup refresher. It is dubbed an ‘accelerator’ because any product applied above it will penetrate the skin better.
Its key ingredients are soothing calendula, acne defying neem oil, as well as a collection of light oils that are rich in nutrients. Customers love how well it hydrates and soothes their skin.
Even though this brand eschews synthetic fragrances, it still managed to create this beautifully scented natural toner. It can be purchased at Follain.
6. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil
Rosehip oil is truly miraculous, and holds so many benefits to the skin. It is a light oil that is appropriate for oily skin on the one hand, but is also super moisturizing and anti-aging for those with mature and dry skin.
One thing that really stands out about this organic beauty product is its ability to reduce acne and acne marks, likely due to its high content of beta carotene and trace amounts of tretinoin. This take on the oil, from Pai, is really the best of the best in terms of rosehip oil quality.
The oil is extracted with CO2, a method that preserves the maximum amount of beneficial constituents in the oil, and is also fortified with vitamin E, rosemary extract, and the antioxidant rich extract of the rosehip fruit itself. This light oil sinks into the skin quickly, leaving it looking bright and healthy.
This organic skin oil can be layered over a hydrating emulsion, and even topped with a heavier balm. You can purchase it at Beauty Expert.
7. RMS Beauty Tinted “Un” Powder
You don’t need a heavy powder loaded with talcum to get a beautiful, matte finish to your skin. Simply made of silica and a bit of mica and iron oxides, this powder perfectly sets makeup without any synthetic fillers, and without ever leaving the skin looking cakey or overly made up.
Those with oily skin especially enjoy this organic makeup product, since it keeps their skin from becoming greasy throughout the day. What’s more, this powder does not leave any white cast, and it blends well with almost all foundations, including non-organic ones.
This powder is available in 3 shades, and can be purchased at Beauty Expert.
8. 100 Percent Pure Fruit Pigmented Healthy Foundation SPF 20
Organic foundations are where compromises must be made. It is just so difficult to create a super blendable foundation without ever a drop of silicone. This organic foundation stands out as the best natural, silicone free foundation.
It is full coverage, mattifying, and fairly blendable – assuming you don’t have any dry patches, since it’s a product for oily skin. In addition to making the skin look as smooth as porcelain, this foundation is also almost completely made up of skin nourishing ingredients, like aloe vera, fruit extracts, and vitamins.
The 20 SPF from mineral sunscreens is also quite impressive. Some people love using it straight from the pump, while others find it blends better with a couple drops of almond or sunflower oil.
You can purchase this all-natural foundation from 100 Percent Pure.
9. Leahlani Kalima Cleansing Powder
This cleansing powder strikes me as such a cool and innovative idea that I couldn’t help but include it in this list! Instead of trying to create a natural version of a pre-existing product, Leahlani is a brand that innovates and comes up with brand new things that are all natural to boot.
This cleansing powder can be activated in a variety of different ways: you can blend it with water for an exfoliating cleansing, an oil for a more moisturizing treatment that will eliminate every speck of makeup, or a cleanser that you already have. You can even leave it on the skin for 10-20 minutes, as a skin softening and clarifying mask.
Each skin type will find something to love about this organic cleanser: there are mineral rich clays to mattify those with oily skin, anti-aging vitamin C and fruit extracts for those worried about premature aging, and colloidal oatmeal and coconut milk for those with dry or sensitive skin.
You can buy this product straight from Leahlani.
10. Mahalo Skincare Rare Indigo Soothing Beauty Balm
Balms are fun and unique skin care products, with a variety of uses. You can use a balm as a final moisturizing layer to occlude your skin and ensure optimal penetration of anything applied below it.
You can use it to target dry spots anywhere on the face, but especially around the eyes, and cheeks. It can also work as a lip balm, or as an elbow or heel softener.
This specific balm from Mahalo is an ultra concentrated remedy for sensitive, irritated, and dry skin, although even normal and combination skin types could enjoy it. It features a bouquet of light exotic oils loaded with healing nutrients, but the star ingredient is Indigo extract, an extract rich in potent anti-inflammatory chamazulene.
This balm can be bought at Beauty Heroes.
Did you decide to make the switch to natural or organic cosmetics? What is your favorite natural beauty brand? Please comment and share your thoughts!